We have all witnessed how digital advancement and eCommerce have transformed China’s retail landscape and brought incredible growth. Yet, increasingly the question on everyone’s minds now is how much longer digital innovation can further fuel the growth in retail, and what the next growth driver might be. Some would suggest that in the future “new retail” might be the key catalyst to unlock the next wave of retail growth.

Through our extensive retail work in China we have increasingly observed that new retail has extended into broader meanings and applications across the entire industry value chain. It is the mean rather than the end to reflect the constant evolution of customer needs and preferences as driven by social, demographic and technological trends. In this article, we set out to explore three core propositions from our first-hand dialogue with many leading internet giants, retailers and investors.


PwC conducted 1,378 interviews in September and October 2018 with CEOs in 91 territories.

Of these interviews, 204 were conducted with food industry CEOs from organizations in 58 territories, most of whom came from consumer goods and retail sectors. Organizations from wholesale, agriculture and food service sectors were also represented among the food industry respondents.

The food industry is being transformed by changing customer behaviour and innovation. Of all the world’s markets, China’s retail food and restaurant sectors have seen the fastest introduction and adoption of new technologies.

Food industry CEOs are confident in their companies’ own growth prospects over both the near term and the long term.

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